Lockheed Martin has offered India its newly configured F-21 fighter aircraft to be manufactured indigenously in India in a bid to compete for US$ 15 billion aircraft competition.
The new aircraft will be competing against American Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, French Dassault Rafale, Swedish Saab’s Gripen, Russian MiG-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon. The new aircraft are intended to replace the IAF's MiG21 jets. Lockheed Martin had earlier pitched their F-16V5 Block 70 aircraft for the competition.
“The F-21 is different, inside and out. The aircraft is specifically configured for Indian Air Force requirements. Lockheed Martin and Tata would produce the F-21 in India, for India,” said Dr. Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics on the first day of Aero India Airshow held in Bangalore, India.
The F-21 has common components and learning from Lockheed Martin’s 5th Generation F-22 and F-35 and will share a common supply chain on a variety of components. Approximately half of the F-21 and F-16 supply chains are common with the F-22 and F-35.
In April 2018, the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) had issued a Request for Information (RFI) to procure approximately 110 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.
The RFI had sought information from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on the specifics of the aircraft for both single engine and twin-engine fighter jets. According to the RFI, India intends to purchase a maximum of 15 percent of the total 110 fighters in fly away condition and manufacture the rest 85 percent under the Make in India program, the RFI read.